Wine: Casa Julis Carmenere Reserva

Casa Julia Carmenere Rsv

Casa Julia Carmenere Rsv

In its Bordeaux incarnation, carmenère apparently turned out sensational wines. It was widely cultivated in the Médoc, the area encompassing some of Bordeaux’s most famous appellations (Pauillac, Margaux) and wineries (Latour, Lafite), and was a key component in what were considered the finest clarets. But carmenère was a bastard to work with. It had difficulty ripening in Bordeaux’s fickle climate and was vulnerable to both oidium powdery mildew and coulure (poor fruit set). After the phylloxera root louse cut a devastating swathe through Bordeaux, winemakers decided that the grape was no longer worth the bother and opted not to replant it. With its disappearance from Bordeaux, carmenère was presumed to have died off.

Cut to the mid-1990s. Chilean winemakers had long been intrigued by what they thought was a unique clone of the merlot grape growing in many vineyards. It was slower to ripen than other merlot, and its leaves were pinkish, which was also unusual. French ampelographer Jean-Michel Boursiquot was soon on the case, and he determined that the mystery fruit was, in fact, carmenère—the so-called “lost grape of Bordeaux.” DNA testing subsequently confirmed this. It is believed that vine cuttings from Bordeaux were brought to Chile in the mid-19th century, and that carmenère found a safe haven there because the South American country was never hit by phylloxera. In the years since carmenère’s true identity was revealed, the Chileans have embraced it as if it were a native son and have ramped up its production dramatically. In turn, Chile has proved to be an excellent home in exile for the grape, especially the vineyards of the central valley, where the Mediterranean climate (warm-but-not-excessively-hot days, cool nights) and long growing seasons are ideal.

Casa Julia’s Reserva Carmenere from the Maipo Valley of Chile comes from old vine Carmenere and is among the Carmeneres as a standard bearer of how a Chilean Carmenere should taste. This is a medium bodied red wine with gorgeous garnet colors that refract light as it is spinning in the glass. The aromas are very unique to this varietal lifting a light earthiness and jalapeno sensation. Once this elixir crosses your lips the fore of the palate is sensationally enticed with deep dehydrated black fruit flavors of cassis, black berry and black cherry yielding to a smooth velvety leather texture that finished with an explosion of bright spice and toasted jalapeno flavors that linger for a long sensational finish.


1 Response to “Wine: Casa Julis Carmenere Reserva”

  1. 1 deeding
    November 24, 2012 at 11:13 pm

    I found and tried this wine; exactly what you told us! Thankyou.

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